Abdelkebir Ouaddar (MAR) claimed the title in the first day's CSI5* feature competition after a spectacularly fast round with his expressive stallion Quickly de Kreisker (Diamant de Semilly x Laudanum XX).
As the temperatures rose in Chantilly, France, so did the competition as a vast and impressive line up of top international riders walked the course set by Italy's Uliano Vezzani. The course provided a challenging but fair speed round for the CSI5* Prix Generali French Tour 1,50m competition and would require riders to jump clear but also fast if they had any hopes of obtaining a position near the top of results.
Lauren Hough (USA) was the first in the ring with her bay ten year old mare Royalty Des Isles (Zandor Z x Elan de la Cour), with whom she won the feature class with in Paris just a few weeks ago. Determined to set the bar high, she rode a phenomenal round, setting the pace at a blinding 60.25s which looked unbeatable as the evening progressed. As the competition unfolded and despite many confident clears, no one could come close to her time and she maintained the lead at almost five seconds ahead of the next place competitor for the majority of the competition.
Britain's John Whitaker (GBR) was the first to come close to Lauren's time. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Musée Vivant du Cheval (Living Horse Museum), the crowd cheered as the riders took on the fast paced round, which lent itself to high adrenalin action as the horses took to the stunning grass arena.
But as the shadows lengthened, Abdelkebir Ouaddar (MAR) and Quickly de Kreisker danced around the corners, shaving off time, to finish on 59.50s, just three quarters of a second ahead of Lauren's time. With an incredible display of skill and talent, Abdelkebir Ouaddar held the bay stallion together, well known for a skip and a buck while competing, galloping to the fences and saving valuable time with tighter turns and longer strides between fences.
Luca Maria Moneta (ITA) was 37th to go, and rode yet another fast round, pushing between fences to try make up the time to first place. Despite jumping clear, he managed to finish approximately two seconds behind Lauren, in 62.41s with his bay gelding Connery (Cordobes II x Polydor).
Ireland's Bertram Allen (IRL) who was also on fine form following his Grand Prix win in Paris and rode Belmonde (Ovidius x Kenwood), his bay nine year old gelding, home in a strong fifth place. France's Pénélope Leprevost was the highest placed home rider, finishing in 8th place to the cheers of the crowd.
Earlier in the day the first of the international CSI5* classes here in Chantilly saw a total of 55 top class combinations competing for the 1,45m Prix France Galop, with Patrice Delaveau taking a popular early win for France with a strong time of 61.69 seconds. Second place went to Britain's Ben Maher who looks set to continue his strong form as he rode clear in 62.73 and maintained the lead for the majority of the competition. Third went to another home favourite Alexis Borrin (FRA) who rode a beautiful round in 63.82.
Source: Press release LGCT.
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